Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Agency models.

You can't spit in the environs of metaphorical Madison Avenue without hearing some gasbag spout about the need for 'a new agency model.' You know, how the old model is 'broken' and we need to outsource this or that function to Upper Lesotho or we'll all go belly-up (except, of course, for the heads of the holding companies who, though never having created an ad, pocket salaries and bonuses that are routinely in the eight digits.)

Having worked almost three decades in the business, I think I know more about agency models than most. And I probably know how to make an agency profitable--very profitable.

Acknowledge that no matter where you work or whom you work for, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Get rid of the dim bulbs, the slackers and the talkers and hold onto your workhorses and you'll make a mint--agency models be damned.

And there's one other thing you can do.

Agree with all clients that after a certain number of reviews of work, the agency will introduce a "dumb fee." A charge for statements that are so blatantly boneheaded they could make your hair curl.

"I know we haven't met any of our dates, but why are you late?"

"I know we haven't approved the copy, but why haven't you recorded it?"

You know, that sort of thing.


Graham Strong said...

Hey George,

"I know we haven't met any of our dates, but why are you late?"

When I'm working out a production schedule and I think there may be delays on the other side, I tend word proposals in terms of "days after", as in "Part B will be completed 14 days after I have received go ahead/feedback on Part A", etc.

Not sure if that would work in an agency. But it sure keeps my freelance butt covered.


Elias said...

Good point about the holding companies. Agencies have become yet just another cash cow for a few "have-lots", with profit being the only goal.
This hurts innovation, freedom of speech (a weird issue when it comes to corporations) and the workplace for many employees.

I tend to like working with independent agencies, if there are any left (JvM, ...).